Thursday, April 28, 2011

On Hired Hands

Via Zach Nielsen, I read this portion of an email Carl Trueman received:
"I worshipped this Sunday with my in-laws at their home church which is pastored by a man featured at this year's [conference name supplied] with 6000 of my closest friends. My father-in-law has been dying for five years (renal failure) and is very likely within months of his death. I can't get a pastor or elder from this congregation to come and visit him once, let alone make it a weekly priority to help him die well - in the full confidence of the Lord Jesus. But there's time, mind you, for (yet another) conference."
Trusting that this fellow really has tried to get an elder from his father-in-law's church to visit him before he dies, this is unconscionable.

I know a pastor of a church who once said to someone asking about hospital visitation that he didn't do it. Ever. Somebody would visit, but not him. He wasn't saying it in terms of disdain, just matter-of-factly that that's not in his particular job description.

I understand an individual pastor/elder not making every (or even most) hospital/deathbed visits. But for the life of me I cannot understand an individual pastor/elder making none.

Pastors, speakers, authors, bloggers: Your platform is not your grounds for pastoral legitimacy. It's the other way around. And you might be able to fool your readers or wider audience, but you won't be able to fool your local church for long. And you will never be able to fool God. There will be a reckoning for "hired hands" who don't feed His sheep.

Pastors Pastor
Pastors, Pastor


Brandi said...

Amen. This is so true!

cjbooth85 said...

Visiting sick people is one thing...visiting a dying one is another. Sometimes it's best to throw the job descriptions out the window and just be a human person...and a human 'pastor.'

If one of your flock is dying, you go visit them, job description or no.

" help him die well." That's pastoring.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jared said...

Sam, I appreciate your comment, and you made some good points, but I disapproved it b/c I won't allow unsubstantiated character attacks on my blog.
I suggest you write letters of respectful complaint to those you are concerned about.

Steve Mizel said...

Good call, Jared. I personally hate hospitals and funeral homes. I also have to confess that people tend to have crises at the most inopportune times (for me) and I can find myriad reasons to avoid engagement or to delegate them to someone else.

Two things that have helped readjust my attitude:

First, when I am the one in crisis, I want to be loved. I don't want to be an intrusion or an inconvenience. I just want support and care. And, thankfully, I have been by Christ and other good men who follow him faithfully.

Second, when I get over myself and care for those who are in need - I am blessed with them. I see the grace of God come into painful situations and bring comfort. I experience Christ's love anew as I see people's faces renewed in hope. I am blessed in their blessing.

Philip said...

Right on.

Today I got a call from a lady I baptized 8 years ago. She quit going to my church a few weeks after I baptized her. She goes to a megachurch in town. She needed me to write a pastoral rec for something. Why did she call me? Because her current pastor doesn't know her, neither does any member of the pastoral staff.